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Arby’s puts premium beef on the menu

Chain offers a look at new menu items and others still in the pipeline

Arby’s introduced a sandwich made with medium-rare Angus beef, the first in what the chain expects to be a line of premium sandwiches.

Officials from the chain showcased the new Angus Three Cheese & Bacon and several other new menu items, including reformulated salad and onion rings, at a media event Monday in New York.

The new Angus Three Cheese & Bacon sandwich is served hot on an Amoroso roll — the same bread used for classic Philadelphia cheese steaks — with melted Cheddar and Swiss cheese, the peppered bacon that’s used throughout the Arby’s system, and a Parmesan peppered ranch dressing. It is available systemwide at a suggested price of $4.99.

The beef is a 94 percent lean top round with a light rub of black pepper, salt, garlic and onion.

Robert Kraut, Arby’s senior vice president for advertising and marketing communications, said the sandwich was targeting about 35 percent of Arby’s customers — those heavy fast food users “who don’t necessarily feel good about the choices that are available to them” and are looking for something that’s better for them than a hamburger, but not necessarily a light meal.

To promote the sandwich, Arby’s launched a marketing campaign Sunday with the new slogan, “It’s good mood food,” that Kraut said was intended to position Arby’s food as “exciting taste that you can feel better about every day.”

The advertisements feature people singing slightly satirically in what Kraut calls a “‘We are the World’ meets ‘Glee’” style about how, although people might have differences of opinion, they can all get along thanks to Arby’s food.

Watch the commercial:

Kraut said Arby’s expects the new Angus Three Cheese & Bacon will be the first in a new line of premium sandwiches, which comes on the heels of a value menu the chain introduced last year.

While introducing the new products to media in New York City, Brian Kolodziej, Arby’s vice president for product development and integration, offered a look at three Angus-based sandwiches that were still being developed:

One was a whole grain wrap, served cold with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon, garlic, herbs and feta.

Another, which the corporate chef said was a favorite among workers at Arby’s Atlanta headquarters, was the Angus Gravy Dipper, a take on the classic French dip, but topped with mozzarella cheese and served with brown gravy instead of au jus.

Kolodziej also used the Angus beef in a cold deli sub, which is based on New England-style grinders and served with marinated banana peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and onion.

Also new to the menu are thick Steakhouse Onion Rings, and a Market Fresh Chopped Side Salad with two types of lettuce, Cheddar cheese and tomato. The salad is priced at $1.99 or can be substituted for fries in a combo meal at no additional charge.

At Monday’s event, Arby’s also debuted a new dessert, Outside-In Cinnamon Bites, which it tested as a limited-time offer during breakfast. Kolodziej said the flaky doughnut holes filled with melted cinnamon cream cheese are inspired by a combination of beignets and cinnamon rolls. They’re priced at $1 for three.

The chain also presented the Jamocha Oreo Shake, which will be offered for a limited time this summer. It has a swirl of Oreo cookie sauce and is topped with crumbled chocolate cookies.

Arby’s new menu items come as its parent company, Atlanta-based Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, looks for a buyer for the 3,600-unit chain.

Arby’s marketing of its new product as containing Angus beef will likely appeal to consumers, according to Technomic.

The research firm found that nearly two-thirds of consumers they surveyed think beef and pork products labeled or mentioned on menus with premium descriptions taste better.

Other chains to upgrade their beef offerings include Ruby’s Diner, a 42-unit chain based in Irvine, Calif., which in February launched a line of $9.99 “Ultimate Kobe Burgers.

Arby’s sister chain Wendy’s started testing more premium burgers last year in Las Vegas; Providence, R.I.; and Austin, Texas.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected].

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